Linux should not be Free

When I moved from Microsoft Windows to Linux, a large part of it was based on being tired of paying Microsoft for what Windows isn't.
Using Free (cost) Linux had great appeal.

Plus, I am already conditioned by society to have this entitlement attitude; having these expectations.
Youtube - free.
Google - free.
Email plus all that email storage - free.

I've changed my mind. Linux, as a whole, across the board, should not be free.
I need to be clear on this; I fully support FOSS - Free Open Source Software. Free as in Freedom. And this will never change.
But as we debate the pros and cons of Desktop Environments, systemd and various facets of Linux, one thing becomes increasingly clear:
If we are not paying Linux developers, then we have no stake in Linux development.
They hold all the cards and all of the control.

Enterprise is where the money is, desktop isn't. And since we have no stake, Linux developers can flick our bug reports and complaints aside as the pesky little gnats that they are.
And if we are not the ones paying the Linux developers - then who is? What are their interests?

In another thread, I commented on what it costs to use Zorin per month, by choosing Zorin OS Pro. It came out to a pittance. But let's double it.

Would you pay:
$130 a month for Cell phone and service?
$20 to $40 per month for streaming entertainment?
$50 per month for Microsoft Peripheral Services?
$80 per month for cable T.V.?

Apparently the answer is a resounding YES.
So, would you pay $5 to $10 per month for a Working Linux Distro, that is well supported on Apps, Games and Hardware like Windows is?
When you consider what we are willing to waste each month, why would you expect something good for FREE?
I could do without Netflix each month, pay for Zorin OS and still have month left in my pocket.
(Ok, I don't have Netflix and I don't do McDonalds.... But you get the idea.)

We should Pay For Linux. Ensure our control over our own desktops. Ensure developers are paid - and paid by our interests. Ensure a future in development in Linux. Ensure that hardware, software and entertainment are all well-supported, instead of a flick at pesky gnats.
We can afford to.
We can no longer afford not to.


Well, you stirred up the hive with a post like that........And I like it!

For far too long, the Linux kernel has been always behind in development. And because its been so behind, it often times does not support all of the new hardware that is available.

And then when a kernel is so full of bugs, does Linus Torvalds fix the bugs? No! But who does? The distro developers do. I am starting to think that is one of the main reasons why it took so long for the Zorins to release OS 16! Yeah, I bet the Zorin's were fixing bugs.

The problem with Linux is it always feels like its half baked. In a recent video of the WAN show, on LTT, he was talking about his first real adventure into Linux, talking about how awful Github is, and I completely agree. But the problems with Github, are IMO at least, the same problems with Linux.

If people arn't getting paid, there is no incentive to make things better. Many people have come on our forum and said, 30-years of Linux, and its still behind the times. Of course many come to that conclusion when compared to Windows, cause Windows just works right out of the box right?

Maybe a few too many exclusivity rights going on with hardware and software. But Tom also brought up the fact that the consumer desktop market share is so insignificant, that is a big reason what is holding us back.

So what Aravisian proposes, I do believe is correct. Linux should absolutely be FOSS, however, not FREE to acquire. Linux distro's must cost money to acquire. If all the distro developers got paid, then there would be further incentive, to make Linux much better then it is today.

Just as if Github were properly paid, maybe then their site would make sense, and not be the awful trainwreck that it is today. Those of us who paid for PRO, we know that we did the right thing, supporting the Zorin dev's is totally the way to go.

I think that if all Linux distro developers got onboard with this, we could start seeing real change in the consumer Linux desktop. Because we want that marketshare to go up. Once companies like Microsoft and Apple begin to take Linux seriously, there will indeed be real competition.

There are still so many people today who still, do not know what Linux is, even though Linux has been around for at least 30-years. This is because Linux doesn't do anything to really compete in the market. All people know are Microsoft and Apple. And people are also getting to know Google, as they continue making forceful strides into the tech world.

But Linux, whats that? That is the common question you will get with so many people that you mention Linux to. But when some try to switch to Linux, and it goes terribly bad due to lack of hardware support, the minute they go back to Windows, is the minute you've lost them.

The chances of them coming back? Very slim, they will buy a new computer, Windows 11 on it, and just take it, cause its easy and things just work. Its time for things to change. And if supporting the developers brings fourth change, thats a good thing.

Cause one thing Linux needs right now, is to be taken seriously by software developers and kernel developers. So I am with Aravisian on this. This is one of those times where stirring up the hive can be a good thing. Because its about getting noticed for the right reasons.


pfft... all the years I used it, that was never true. But wifi, video and stuff did work out of the box.

That is the easy part.

The hard part is convincing the users who, for years, grew accustomed to Free Cost Linux.


That is what I meant BTW.

And I realize, that is going to be a tough one to sell isn't it? Cause like you said in your post, were used to getting things for free.

But what did your ohhhh dad tell ya? Nothing in this world is free. And in the case of Microsoft, that has never been truer. Because you are the product, and you are what Microsoft is selling, your data.

So you see, nothing is for free. But wouldn't it be better to have greater control, by paying for stuff? And that is the key point I believe Aravisian was saying. You have a greater control of what you want or what you get, when you pay for it.


I agree.. But I only pay what, $1.63 per month ($39/24) for the best OS out there.
I still can't fathom how people are irked because they 'claim' they can't afford that for Pro and act like Core isn't good enough. SMH... Crazy notion..


Thats cause they feel entitled. And through that entitlement, they think they have the right to get everything for nothing. Its also to Aravisian's point, people think they should get everything for free.

But at the same time, you also don't want to price yourself out of existance either lol. So thats why I've said in the past, 40-dollars is an excellent price for PRO. And truth is, if everybody was paying for PRO, there would be no need to raze the price any further, in the future.

But no, people rather pirate PRO, cause they think they should get everything for nothing. I hope those pirates enjoyed their screwed up EFI version HA HA HA. Imagine emporer twiddling his fingers saying, good, good. lol

You pirates no like your screwed up EFI Zorin OS.

Thats what you get for being pirates.


For many coders who work with Linux and Linux distros, the interest is simply just working the code and making something for either themselves or themselves and others with similar needs/desires. Money has nothing to do with it. It's just that simple.

I don't know the first thing about the coding for Linux, but I do tinker with writing software for my beloved C64. I enjoy doing it and sharing what I create with other C64 enthusiasts. It's not about making money, it's about enjoying creating something that I find useful within BASIC. So, I can see why someone would enjoy contributing to or developing their own Linux project just for the fun of it.

But that's the great thing about Linux, if you want to pay for a commercial version of it, there's plenty to choose from. But, if you want to "cook your own", you have the freedom to do so. And then, you can share it with others who may enjoy your work. No one is going to sue you for doing so. Can't say the same if you want to do something to MS-Windows or MacOS.

Not sure if any of what I've written brings anything meaningful to the discussion, but when I saw the question "what' in it for them", I thought I'd share my opinion on that. If you want to give your work away for free, you should have the right to do so; Just as you should have the right to charge for your work, too.


I've been working on learning software development (c, Java and Python). It has humbled me greatly in seeing what goes into creating an application, it's features and the gui that so many insist is more productive than cli. When i was young i used to pirate software. Now i realize the pains and joys that these people go through to get things right. The user complaining about a feature that may have taken two+ weeks of wracking his brain, trial and error, to get it to work, not have errors, not have memory leaks, utilize multiple threads to increase its speed and not interfere with the main process... how many people dedicate that kind of time and resources for two+ weeks to anything? Think about that, 8 to 12 hours a day, every day for two weeks. I can understand the developers not modifying a theme or wanting a break from it so don't want to tackle that bug that only a few people are experiencing.

When it comes to the kernel and an os... my hat is off. These people, though they love to tinker and share, should be compensated for their dedication, experience and expertise! Think about the knowledge necessary to interact with the cpu, ram, hard drives... how they work and process information... each companies convoluted idea of an easier and better way to interact with software... across different versions of the hardware.

If you look at the track record for windows verse the track record for Linux when it comes to bug fixes and updates, Linux wins hands down. Sure there are bugs in Linux. Unlike Microsoft, every bug in Linux that is fixed, stays fixed. It doesn't pay to get everything working in Microsoft... bug fixes take time and new features are what people want, so it doesn't pay. Besides, why fix something for the user when the data collection is working perfectly... who cares if it's slowing down the user's computer, deleting their personal files... they'll keep coming back because they don't know how to use the other options available... Microsoft knows people are lazy.

The people in Linux care about what they are doing, not motivated by money. Those people need the support of the community they support. Otherwise the only option is to focus on company support, which means data mining, company driven features and reduction in user concerns.

I hope one day to contribute to the Linux community, definitely in software, hopefully to the kernel itself. I have much to learn before then.

Contributing to a community for Linux (Zorin, Ubuntu, Pop, Fedora, Devuan, Arch or any of the like) by helping others on a forum, productive feedback (not just complaints) and donations will enable the developers to dedicate more time to their hobby... Linux. If you download an os you enjoy and use, why wait for the price tag to come to you, give them some time and a third of what you would give windows in the past... you'll feel better about using the os, that you helped, maybe in more than one way, and you become personally involved with it, making you care more about it. Above all else, don't forget that someone had to have the time, patience and knowledge to get it this far. Show some respect and support it, it's the least you can do.


Yes, it`s a vicious circle. Users install Linux, then having problems they dont get solved. After that instead of buying pro, leaving Linux, resigned.
If they dont buy/support it, development stocks.

I wanted to buy Zorin OS too - And if it would work on my Desktop, i would buy pro instantly!

Its a thing i fight with myself. Linux should get better supported by Softwaredevelopers and Gaming-Developers and stuff - but the yjust would, if there is a higher marketshare.

But u barely dont reach higher marketshare if people missing software/games/hardware-support.

In my opinion Zorin OS is on a good way. Easy to install, easy to use, good design-possibilities and support.

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I think the number of regressions in the 5.11. kernel demonstrates otherwise. Much less using Gnome for any given amount of time.
@337harvey and @davidb_sk , I think you make a valid point for the generosity and lack of financial motivation for some.
And if you are working on a project on the side or a hobby, sharing it when complete is fine.
However, as Harvey points out, this is not the case for much of the development that we rely on - like the kernel.
For those programming and developing in Linux Full-Time, then they have bills. And little ones that want to be fed.
No one is necessarily saying that Linux Devs are MS Greedy.

But if they are going to devout a couple of weeks to just one solution to a bug fix with long hours each day - it had better be worth more to them than tickling their fancy when their kids are whimpering.

This is not Star Treks Utopia. In real life, the bills are due.

And I firmly believe that there are those developers in Linux that are motivated by money. Hands down. And they are pretty high up n the ranks and they are influencing others, pressuring directions, pushing for changes - changes that would financially benefit them, not the user.
It seems lofty and a bit of a romanticized view of Linux to think otherwise or to think that all Linux devs are altruistic.
Under examination, what we see as evidence is not altruism.

Even if some independent developers that throw in some weekend code as contributions are able to comfortably be more altruistic.

Some working full time at the higher levels have more ambition than that.

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Having recognised along time ago that there is something wrong with the "everything free" business model. So I absolutely support @Aravisian 's sentiments here.

Anything that is free in terms of money or effort is not worth it. It will only cost you in ways you are not meant to realise. How is that corporations have become rich and powerful off the back of a free business model? Anyone wanting to know, search for "Shoshana Zuboff" on the (free) Youtube site.

Linux has been expensive for me in recent months in terms of effort to become familiar with it. I am glad of this and appreciate it -- all things of value require effort.

What's more, I have become willing to pay for certain services. I now pay for protonmail, for example. In principle, I am willing to pay for a few others rather than accept "free" alternatives.

I'm not sure I have any easy answer to the business model question, however. I agree in principle that the focus of FOSS should be free as in freedom. I would have a concern, however, about everyone paying to acquire FOSS software in general. What I fear would happen is that software repositories will be become money making enterprises in the hands of the likes of Google, who will then shut out all other players (including the author's themselves). In other words, they hover-up all content created by enthusiasts and monetize it for themselves.

I support money making in terms of capitalism where there is true competition. However, we do not live in such an era but one of large monopolies. However, nothing lasts forever and I look forward to a time where creativity and effort are valued again.


Few words, yet it fills a paragraph.

Very fair point...
At least they used a Hoover and not a Goblin.

That said, though, aren't they already gobbling up Free Open source? That is what enabled development of Chrome and Android.

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Lol! Thank you for the spelling correction. Indeed, "hoover" has become a verb in the same way people say, "google it".

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I think financial support for open source projects great for those who have the resources, but paying for something is no guarantee of having any input or control.
That lies in the hands upstream projects like Gnome who stopped taking user input years ago. Gnome based projects have to work with what trickles down stream. Extensions are hacks that add functionality to what would be a pretty dull desktop without them.


48 posts were split to a new topic: Linux vs. Windows

Split topic to Linux vs. Windows: Detailed arguments beyond the scope of the topic Linux should not be free.

My apologies to all.

I think that this is a topic that needs addressing. Earlier, I helped derail this topic and a Moderator needed to come in and clean up the mess.
It becomes easy if a person feels that they are wronged, for them to discount their own wrongs as they focus on the perceived wrongs of the other. Which is the trap that I fell into.

With thread restored: What I think we can all agree on is that Linux User Desktop has some pretty big problems.
I am more midrange in my opinion of the severity. I see as many people complain about things not working as I see people state that they love Linux or Zorin because "it just works" and everything works out the of the box.
Without some good statistical analysis of whether or not apps are more or less likely to work - it is all limited experience opinion and not worth much.

I think that on Linux, we are more likely to see independently developed apps - from hobbyists, enthusiasts and students - than Windows would see, which is geared toward Company sponsored, developed or vetted apps. In this case, it makes sense that we would have a Bias Tilt- as we witness more apps that need refining on Linux. Which to me... is a Great Thing. I find it appealing. I find it awesome to use an app that a student developed while learning - to be a part of the process - whereas using a Corporate App that is perfect and flat and dull is just work. Certainly, I wouldn't want only student made apps that need refining. I wouldn't want a Glitchy Blender Graphics app. But I am glad I can enjoy forays into learning in Linux today.

When users become very frustrated by breakage, however, they may be more willing to sacrifice more User Control in lieu of getting applications that Work Without Effort.
This becomes pretty critical because of the obvious consequence- This Affects Everyone.
In a system of "Free Cost" applications or Operating Systems, having the resources, teams, finances and motivation to address both requests:

  • retain user control, features and Choice
  • Address changing things for users who wish to have different needs met

is not possible. The result is that one of those will be chosen and the other discarded. And when this happens, that decision will be Justified and Explained away. What we see currently from Gnome is a lot of that: Distraction and Misdirection.
The users say that they have frustration over dependency issues. So the developers exploit this to produce Snap - which does address Dependency issues (usually) but came with major security holes, locked applications away from needed access (causing them to not work at all) and less User Control. Along with Bloat. This resulted in user protest: "Uhh... that is not what we said..." Gnome claimed it was what we said and then started explaining away how it is good... and we should accept it. And when we didn't, Canonical broke their word and used force (Snap Store) after promising to never replace APT with Snap. Misdirection- they had no intention of keeping that promise.

The only motive I can see for this is Money.
While I am (obviously) passionate about Linux, Gnome and Canonical are less so. They do not truly care if the developers write this bit of code or that bit of code. If the user uses this function or does not. They just want to follow where the money goes - and where it comes from.

By asserting our place in the market by providing that money, we can steer that direction, rather than letting it be steered by some Other Entities interests. Entities that see us as a commodity to be exploited.
And to exploit- you must be in control.


Sometimes about this all mess.
The free what we want then we can just answear for one question.
Did I need this all stuff from all distributions and gaming?
I am simple a man. The answear is we are addicted some things what was before exist from 2013. Someone need a software from windows,mac or apple because this is they jobb what they working - music,architect,gaming.
That how diffrents jobs in the world and systems in the world, never will be one king operative system. This is always will be a battle. Why? Because people like a challenge and want proved we can do that better.
If someone told you use linux but where is the point?
Technology is changing,Linux is evolve to some sides where are a money.
We know where is a money there is a control to manipulate a people.
I never gived 100% open source have security.
Everything can be broken - example a guy who created a Kodachi when he sayed he was a hacked and created a system. Some people who working on corporation cannot sharing a new code. Yes it could be sharing some old peripherals device what out from system or next years.
Internet also gived to much fake informations also people they believe many weird things. That the problems many channels youtube try selling you a "dirty product" what isn't worth a real price.
Gived the choice a people is like a freedom.

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